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Artifact Deck Guide:
[RG] VinKelsier's Itemless

By VinKelsier | Updated November 27th, 2018
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VinKelsier November 27th, 2018
Avg. Mana Cost = 5
All Items
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
16 12 8 4 0
Value $148
Total Cards 32
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Deck Stats Details Tools Discussion Open in Builder
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6 V o t e s
Mana Curve
All Items
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
16 12 8 4 0
Value $148
Total Cards 32
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Deck Details & Information

The core of this deck is tempo based with a goal of controlling the board early via strong flop heroes alongside resilient creeps that accomplish the same goal. Unlike most other decks, this deck generally tries to avoid buying items. It takes some practice to get comfortable with knowing when to buy and when to hold gold, but as a general rule, if your hand or board allows you to get value from your gold without buying items, try to do that. A potion or TP scroll is fine to buy as needed, but try to avoid the other items unless you know specifically why you want them NOW. You often hit a point after Revtel Convoys have done their work when you pivot your gameplan and spend gold to close the game.

The three flop heroes are:

Bristleback - Raw stats with the threat of growing. If he flops into a hero he can kill, often the opponent will not even try to redeploy into the lane. He is also extremely unlikely to die on turn-1.

Axe - Raw stats once again. Built in sustain/resilience in his 2 armor. He should never die on turn-1.

Omniknight - He generally survives the first round and provides a resilient board with his signature spell moving forward. While Legion Commander is a better flop hero in general, Omni is the choice here so that Mists of Avernus, one of the strongest cards in the game, can be played turn 1 if desired.

The last 2 heroes:

Legion Commander (LC) on the turn (position 4) - The reality is that LC can easily be in any position in most decks. She fell to this position simply to unlock the ability to play a 3-mana green card on turn-1. She still applies significant pressure when she hits the board, and Duel is one of the best signature cards in the game. Considering if she will block a Stonehall Elite from being played directly into a melee creep.

Drow Ranger on the river (position 5) - The overall best green hero in the game. She provides board-wide pressure with her attack aura (Note that her aura on top of a single Mists of Avernus tick causes freshly spawned creeps to 1-shot your opponent's creeps) and has an incredibly strong signature spell. Many decks run her in position 4 to get her aura online as soon as possible, but this deck wants her at position 5 due to the fact that it has five green 5-mana cards and only three green 4-mana cards that Omni can likely cast, while Drow is not very resilient.

Early game proactive cards:

Mist of Avernus - This card creates insane pressure in a lane it is played into, so long as there are units there to benef. Look for wide lanes or otherwise good opportunities to play this. While we have Omni to enable this turn-1, there are times it is better to wait if you are not sure which lane you want to commit to. Look for situations such as your Axe spawning into their Phantom Assassin (or Bristle into LC). If Omni spawns to the left of Axe in this scenario, the single tick will cause Axe to hit the attack needed to 1-shot her.

Bronze Legionnaire - This creep has perfect stats to kill melee creeps every turn while threatening weaker blue heroes over 2 turns as well.

Mercenary Exiles - There is a nuance in knowing when to pump this card. Hitting the 4~6 attack range (spending 4-8 gold) is almost always worth it in the early game so that it can efficiently 1-shot creeps for as long as it remains on the board. In the late game, you can sometimes get a surprise tower lethal by dropping your gold, and throughout the game, you have to consider how badly you need to purchase items. Be wary of pumping this too much if there is a risk of Slay wiping you out. Also avoid pumping this too much if you have a Revtel Convoy in hand or on board.

Stonehall Elite - Same stat line as Bronze Legionnaire, but with the ability to grow. Ideally, this card should be played directly into a creep it can kill, but there are times that you need to play it into a lane where that is not the case simply because it is still a creep that pressures the board. It is also worth considering that if the opponent has mana, they can get good trades against it with cards such as Viscous Nasal Goo, Hip Fire, Oglodi Vandal, and Bronze Legionnaire. As such, there are times it is worth passing and letting your opponent play their mana first if you expect that they have a 4-mana play of their own.

Revtel Convoy - With a few hero kills secured, this card regularly deploys in the range of 7/20 to 12/20. It can kill heroes on its own merit, repeatedly kill creeps that spawn into it, or do significant tower damage. It is ideal to play this as far left as possible, so that in a single round it can do it’s damage then gold can be spent on Exiles in a future lane, same turn.

Allseeing One's Favor- This card generates lane pressure simply by keeping your creeps and heroes alive. Any melee creeps that hit opponent’s melee creeps in turn 1 are now 2/2s facing off against 2/2s. Regeneration will in fact keep them alive while they kill your opponent’s melee creeps on turn-2.

Reactive/Situational/Mid-game Cards:

Red Mist Pillager - This card could have gone in the pressure category as it forces your opponent to deal with a lane or risk a threat on their ancient. That said, it is situational. You need a lane that is going wide, and ideally one where they do not have a hero that will kill a melee creep this turn (or the new RMP will take spawn in that spot).

Viscous Nasal Goo - This card is often underrated due to people just freely tossing it on heroes, hoping for the permanent “modify” aspect of it to generate value. While this can sometimes be the correct play, it is often better to use it to control the board. Using it on a Stonehall Elite to cause a melee creep to trade into it is a necessity.

Spring the Trap - The idea behind this inclusion is that after you’ve won a lane, you may want to use that mana to influence another lane, as this is not an uncommon scenario. Running 2 copies however can create problems if both are drawn, as the card is not very strong (though still playable) when played directly into the lane it is cast from.

Time of Triumph - This is a game-winning card if your deck is hitting the 8-mana turn. Look for opportunities to stack heroes for this card. If you do have such an opportunity, you can pivot away from the strategy of “don’t buy items” to “get Blink Daggers” to buff then relocate heroes.

Corrosive Mist - Payoff for not playing items. You can virtually always destroy enough small items to get value. It also hard counters econ/gold decks (Do not use it too early if they are playing such a deck). Hitting 1 Blink Dagger when your opponent wants to move lanes (you can respond after they play the dagger) is fine. Note that if a hero has a health item that provides more than their current health, this can actually kill the hero instantly. If there is a buffed Stonehall Cloak, you can inspect the hero to see exactly how big that cloak is and get 10+ damage.

Duel - It is most often correct to NOT play this on turn 1 and instead save it for the more critical turns in the game to stop your opponent from playing high impact spells such as Annihilation. On turns where cards such as that are an option for your opponent, you also need to consider initiative. With multiple Revtel Convoys in hand, it can be correct to duel turn-1 for gold.

Berserker's Call - Pushing tower damage when this kills 2 creeps is often a correct play. Initiative must be considered to get use from this when you want to kill heroes.

Gust - With initiative, this card can stop the opponent from doing anything. If you are already ahead on board, this helps to maintain that advantage. Realize that it also stops items (such as Blink Dagger) from being used, which can stop your opponent from reinforcing a lane that you are pushing damage in.

Enough Magic! - Again, initiative is important to use this card effectively. Kill injured heroes and push tower damage before they can react to snowball the advantage you have earned from your strong early game tempo.

Fight Through the Pain - It can be used it simply to save a hero, but initiative is very important in the mid-game. Initiative cards can also be chained with other cards, allowing a hero to survive a Berserker’s Call as the 2 armor prevents up to 6 damage. Initiative is important.


The item deck is a sideboard with high potential situational cards. Avoid buying an item unless you very much need to.

Demagicking Maul - Since the deck is not running Smash Their Defenses!, which can simply be a dead card and does not help generate tempo on board, this provides an answer to improvements if needed. Do not buy it unless you know a specific improvement you want to destroy with it.

Blink Dagger - Only buy this when it will be used, such as with Time of Triumph or to get presence in a lane for damage, blocking, or playing cards.

Claszureme Hourglass - This is simply here as a late-game option to choke your opponent out of plays once you decide to spend all your gold. Do not buy it early. Flexible slot.

Obliterating Orb - This is the best situational card in the item deck. It directly counters Incarnation of Selemene decks while also providing potential counterplay against ramp decks. Note that this CAN be used even if all of your heroes are silenced. An example of how to use it: Opponent is on 7 mana, they cast Gust (3/7 mana remaining), Stars Align (5/9 mana), then Aghanim’s Sanctum (1/9 mana). You now destroy the Sanctum with Orb. They just spent 3 cards to try to have their combo go off, you spent a 10g item to trade for all those cards and shut them down.

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